On Tuesday, February 02, 2016, State Representative Bob Pritchard (R-Hinckley) joined Governor Rauner and other legislators in unveiling legislation, House Bill 4644, which will improve the procurement system by cutting out unnecessary red tape while ensuring the high ethical standards needed in government spending.
“Our procurement system is needlessly inefficient and costly,” Rep Pritchard said. “Well intended legislation from previous years has created more problems than it corrected. This legislation will streamline the process and provide greater flexibility to agencies while continuing to safeguard taxpayer money.”
The Governor’s office estimates that the reforms outlined in the bill will save taxpayers around a half a billion dollars a year. One reform will reduce the length of solicitation by allowing state agencies to create a pre-qualified pool of vendors in different categories of supplies and services. Another reform will allow the State to “piggyback” on the procurements of other states and governmental entities, a process known as cooperative purchasing. Other reforms included in this bill modify the Chief Procurement Officer structure and will cut down the length of the Request For Proposal (RFP) process, which has more than tripled in the last decade.
“If we’re asking our universities to lower their costs we should help them by reducing any unnecessary administrative burdens being mandated by the state,” Rep Pritchard continued.
Northern Illinois University currently has 60,000 assets that it tracks, tags, and reports to CMS annually. The staffing level needed to keep up with this demand is sometimes greater than the cost of the items themselves. An exemption in the procurement code for higher education institutions, which allowed universities to be exempt from the bid thresholds of the code for entertainment, international programs, textbooks and library materials, and some professional services, mistakenly expired at the end of 2014. HB 4644 will reinstate these exemptions in addition to adding others for education-specific purchases.
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